First and foremost, the story is completely fictional. Think about it for two seconds: the lady gets in everyone’s face on the airplane EXCEPT the guy who antagonizes her, to whom she writes a perfectly well-thought-out and easily-photographable note? Wouldn’t 7A be a window seat, and in that case, wouldn’t our hero have to lean over the people in 7B and 7C to casually drop a note and two bottles of vodka? No verbal interaction with Diane or either of those people during this clumsy process? The flight attendants participate in the note-passing? No gate agents or security people intervene when she slaps him? Even as a comedy sketch, it has holes. (Also it isn’t particularly funny, but that’s neither here nor there.)
And now people are saying that she absolutely does exist, because some other anonymous internet commenter claims that she’s her cousin and she has terminal cancer. God almighty, people. Anyone can say anything to anyone these days, and I’m not telling you to be a complete cynic, but some rudimentary bullshit-detection mechanism is more necessary now than ever.
Most disappointing are the people who say: “I just want it to be true.” You do? Why? Why do you want more people to act like crabby toddlers? Why do you want these poor flight attendants to have to act as wrestling referees?
Are you honestly looking around your world and noticing an insufficient amount of rudeness?
Yesterday, I posted a Facebook status update that said “There is no Diane in 7A,” and some guy responded “Well, I thought it was funny, and it seems petty to speculate on whether the story is true.” I immediately deleted the comment, because I was embarrassed for the guy (and also I didn’t want anyone to think I was friends with him), and I got legitimately frightened, and now I’m thinking about deleting my Facebook account completely. (And also yours. You’ll thank me later.)
Right now I’m writing my first book, a book of true stories, and it’s really really fucking hard. It’s hard choosing stories where the only person I humiliate is me. It’s hard pulling moments out of my actual life and crafting them into something that can entertain and edify a reader, without fudging the facts or manufacturing easy villains. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard.
It would be much easier to make up a bunch of scenes where I’m some witty folk hero who triumphs against banal evil by telling all kinds of cartoon bad guys to put my dick in their mouth.
I don’t wanna.
And listen: I’m not taking Diane’s side here. She behaved atrociously and she does not exist. I’m just saying that everything that can be done- even our internet hoaxes- can be done well, and with kindness. We deserve it.